May 13, 2004
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Budding composers Alexander LaFollett and Kevin Lax will meet key decision makers in the Hollywood music scene when they spend two days with Oscar-winning composer Bill Conti May 18 and 19 as co-winners of The Conti Connection, an Oregon Symphony competition for aspiring songwriters and composers. The winners were announced at the Rose Garden May 12. The Conti Connection, which heralds Conti’s visit to Portland to conduct the Symphony’s final Bank of America Pops concerts May 22-24, is sponsored by Bank of America, KINK fm 102 and Classical Millennium. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Amanda Richards was named runner-up; eight other finalists made up the competition’s top 10.
A cellist/music prodigy from Forest Grove who started college at age 12, LaFollet graduated from Western Oregon University with a degree in composition at age 17. Now 18, he recently received a teaching assistantship in the Composition department of Central Washington University, which begins in the fall.
Lax, from Portland, is currently pursuing a degree in musical composition with an emphasis in film scoring at the University of Southern California. A pianist, Lax has written scores for three independent films and produces two hip-hop/dance groups in the Los Angeles area.
While in Hollywood, LaFollett and Lax will accompany Conti to Capitol Records and Paramount Studios, where they will meet executives and observe a studio session, attend the prestigious ASCAP Pop Awards and meet with Nancy Knutsen, the head of ASCAP’s television and film division.
The 10 finalists for The Conti Connection were selected based on musical integrity and marketability by Laureate Associate Conductor Norman Leyden, noted Oregon composer/ Western Oregon University composition professor Kev in Walczyk and violinist/composer Aaron Meyer. The eight additional finalists are: Gabriel Salo; David Lux; Emily Johnson; Sam Martin; Mason Kaye; Seann Branchfield; and Stevi Marie Spaulding.
Visit www.orsymphony.org/conticonnection for additional information on The Conti Connection.